Miller hails rejuvenated Panesar
National selector Geoff Miller has revealed that Monty Panesar’s success in reinventing himself at Sussex led to his inclusion in England's Ashes squad.
Panesar and Chris Tremlett were recalled this afternoon to a 16-man party, led by Andrew Strauss, bound for Australia.
The 28-year-old Panesar made the last of his 39 Test appearances in the opening match of the 2009 Ashes before being dropped amid a significant loss of form.
But Miller believes he has been revitalised by his move from Northamptonshire to Sussex, taking 52 first-class wickets for his new county this summer.
"Monty went away and developed his game because obviously he was having a bad time," said Miller.
"We told him what he needed to do, he joined a new county and has produced the goods for them this year.
"He’s a quality spinner. He just needed to go away when he was having problems and resurrect his career, which he’s done.
"Monty’s developed as a person. There were times when you thought he wasn’t thinking for himself and that’s changed.
"He’s been given the onus at Sussex to set his fields, have conversations with the captain and coach and has developed as a player and person.
"He’s been to Australia before and did well there once he got into the side, so he’s used to the conditions."
Pace bowler Tremlett was another interesting inclusion in the squad, with the 29-year-old recalled to the England set-up for the first time since the 2008 tour of New Zealand.
"Chris has led the attack at Surrey and done really well with the responsibility," said Miller.
"The conditions in Australia should suit him so he got the nod on that one."
It seems the pace attack - and specifically the rangy trio of Steven Finn, Stuart Broad and Tremlett - are part of a master plan.
Miller said knowingly: "There are plans ahead.
"Size obviously does matter - there are going to be some bouncy wickets over there, and we obviously have cover in the bouncy areas.
"But we also have people who can swing as well, so there is a good cross-section there - and everything has been taken into consideration. The planning has been a long time in the making."
Miller insisted England had no hesitation in selecting Kevin Pietersen, who will begin a spell at former club KwaZulu-Natal next month in an attempt to regain his form in time for the Ashes.
"We know what a great player Kevin is. He’s had a lull in form but lots of great players have lulls in form," said Miller.
"He wants to put that right and get some time in the middle. That was accepted and we’ve left him to it.
"I know how hard he works at his game and his fitness and how great a player he can be.
"When it comes to playing Australia, he’ll be up for the challenge."
England will be bidding to win the Ashes in Australia for the first time since Mike Gatting’s class of 1987 and Miller believes the current team is just as strong.
"Yes I think this squad is as good as Gatting’s. It’s a solid squad with match-winners all the way down," said Miller.
"If they all perform to potential there’s no reason why we can’t retain the Ashes."